A former Starbucks employee is suing the chain for wrongful termination after stopping a robbery attempt
A former Starbucks employee has filed a lawsuit against the coffee chain, saying he was wrongly fired after confronting thieves in his store.
NBC affiliate KSDK reports Louis Michael Harris, 20, was working a drive-thru shift in December when he said two men entered the store and began frisking customers.
When the two men demanded money from the register, Harris said, he tried to open it. At that moment, one of the robbers hit him on the head with a gun.
“I thought I was going to die that day… They came in and announced it was a robbery,” Harris recalled, according to the station.
He said he felt emboldened to stand his ground when he realized the gun was fake, the station reported, and noticed the trigger had fallen off.
“That’s when we noticed it and started responding,” Harris said.
Eventually, one of the men took off; Harris and another colleague were able to restrain the other until police arrived, the station said.
But weeks after the incident, Harris said he received a phone call saying he had been fired.
“They terminated me,” he said. “They didn’t really give me a reason to fire me. They just told me I was, and I had to accept that.”
Starbucks said in a statement that it was “deeply concerned to learn of this terrifying incident. Associate safety is at the core of how we operate in our stores, and we are extremely grateful that our associates and customers were not harmed further in this situation.”
The company said: “All employees are expected to follow our carefully designed protocols to ensure the safety of customers and partners during these situations. In situations like these, our training and protocols guide our associates to comply and de-escalate, not only for their safety but for the safety of everyone in the store.
Harris and his lawyers said Starbucks’ policy was unfair.
“There’s no way that an individual can be in danger, trying to kill themselves or someone else’s death, and then once they get hit or fall, they can’t defend themselves,” attorney Ryan Krupp said.
This incident echoes the incident last summer that witnessed Lululemon Employees at one of the chain’s outlets were subsequently terminated they ConfrontationMr. Dr Thieves.
The National Retail Federation said in a statement Thursday that acts of violence have no place in retail stores.
“The number one priority for retailers is ensuring the safety and security of both customers and workers,” she said, noting that retailers provide their teams with training like Starbucks to prevent or de-escalate situations that could lead to confrontation, and that partnerships with law enforcement are also designed to help resolve such These incidents.
“Threats, violence and protests will not prevent the retailer’s commitment to protecting the health and safety of the customers they serve and the people they employ,” the union said.
But the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) said in a statement that while retail workers should never be asked to directly confront a shoplifter, “there are a lot of nuances in every situation and a simple ‘don’t resist’ is not the same.” Adequate.”
“Workers need to be trained to address all the different forms of hazards they may encounter,” said the group, which does not represent Harris. “‘Don’t fight’ is not training. Workers need training.”
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com